And so I've managed to keep up this practice---I'd be tempted to call it a discipline if it were more difficult---of taking a picture of myself first thing every morning. Having done it for six months now, without missing a day, it has settled into a (sometimes tedious) routine. Some days I've wondered, "What was the point of this again?"
The point was---and is---that I am lonely. For a long time, I didn't think of myself that way. I'm a solitary person, almost always have been, even as a child. Through the years, I've had crushes, fallen in love a couple of times, and I have a network of really good friends---none of which altered my status and usual contentment as a solitary person.
Last year, 2010, changed that. A significant death, a failed attempt at romance, and the loss of a job (to name only the big three) piled on, beat me up one side and down the other. Mid-life crisis? Sure, factor that in. The main thing is that a loneliness was awakened in me.
I felt invisible.
I wanted to be seen.
A more sane person with an exhibitionist bent might have made self-portraits with a little more style. Perhaps a bit more styled, coiffed, dressed. No, I wanted to be seen, not at my best, but at my worst.
See me. Look at me. Love me, despite it all.
I said at the quarter year mark that this exercise has left me feeling vulnerable. That, yes, and a growing willingness to say things like "I'm lonely." So, vulnerable and maybe some sort of courageous.
Which doesn't cancel out the exhibitionism and narcissism also inherent in this practice. After all, the direct object of the verbs "see" and "look" and "love" is "me."
Well, I guess that's fine. Another level of self-exposure, which goes along with seeking intimacy. But really, the narcissistic exhibitionist is checked by the viewers avoiding this blog in massive numbers. That is to say, I average between 10 and 15 visitors to this blog every week---hardly intimacy with the whole world.
I have six more months of this. Even as I look forward to January 1, 2012, when I can wake up and not take a picture, I wonder if I'll be able to stop. I wonder if I'll want to.
I'm fairly certain I will.